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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 1, 2019

Alabama Man Pretending to be College Softball Coach Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Attempting to Produce Child Pornography

Jason Ford, a former teaching assistant and travel softball coach, was sentenced to 15 years in prison today after previously pleading guilty to attempting to produce child pornography.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami, Florida Field Office, Charles P. Spencer,  Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville, Florida Field Office, James E. Jewell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Mobile, Alabama Field Office, and Alphonso Norris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia, South Carolina Field Office made the announcement.

Ford, 42, of Dothan, Alabama, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Case No. 18-cr-60117), to a total of 15 years in prison.  He was also sentenced to serve 20 years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. 

According to the court docket, including the agreed upon factual proffer Ford was a teaching assistant and travel softball coach, working out of Dothan, Alabama.   However, Ford falsely represented himself to be a University of North Florida and University of South Carolina softball coach, in order to have contact with female high school softball players.  Ford engaged in a calculated scheme to gain the trust of minor females who aspired to earn college athletic scholarships.  Ford engaged in inappropriate conversations with teen softball players in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. Ultimately, Ford made contact online with an undercover agent he believed to be a 15-year-old female softball player. Ford was arrested after he sent the teen (who in fact was an undercover agent) currency for a sexually explicit video.         

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; and Columbia, South Carolina Field Offices in this matter.  She also thanked the Dothan Police Department for their assistance.  This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Catherine Koontz.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated March 1, 2019